Beryllium Oxide (BeO) Ceramic PCB

BeO offers thermal conductivity ten times higher than alumina, and fifty percent higher than aluminum nitride, a dielectric constant that is lower than both alumina and aluminum nitride, and weight per given volume that is fully a quarter less than alumina, and nearly ten percent less than aluminum nitride.
Three Ceramic PCBs

BeO offers thermal conductivity ten times higher than alumina, and fifty percent higher than aluminum nitride, a dielectric constant that is lower than both alumina and aluminum nitride, and weight per given volume that is fully a quarter less than alumina, and nearly ten percent less than aluminum nitride.

The evolution of printed circuit boards (PCBs) has seen a remarkable transformation in recent years, propelled by the emergence of advanced materials. Beryllium oxide ceramic PCBs, in particular, stand as a pinnacle of innovation, boasting exceptional thermal properties and high-performance capabilities.

Types of Ceramic PCBs Based on Manufacturing Processes

Ceramic PCB manufacturing involves simpler processes compared to traditional PCBs. Typically, a blend of thermally conductive ceramic powder and an organic adhesive undergoes thermal treatment to craft these PCBs. The classification of ceramic PCBs based on manufacturing processes includes:

Laser Activation Metallization (LAM) PCBs

LAM PCBs utilize high-energy lasers to ionize both ceramic material and metal, fostering their fusion. This method forms a robust bond between the materials, ensuring their cohesion and strength.

Low-Temperature Co-fired Ceramic (LTCC) PCBs

In LTCC PCB fabrication, ceramic material like alumina is combined with glass material in a ratio of 30%-50%. Organic binders aid in binding the mixture. The composite is spread onto sheets, dried, and then undergoes drilling to create specific layer designs. Circuit patterns are typically printed using screen printing techniques. LTCC PCBs are completed by heating in a gaseous oven at temperatures ranging from 850 to 900 ℃.

High-Temperature Co-fired Ceramic (HTCC) PCBs

HTCC PCBs are designed to operate under extreme heat conditions without damage. The process starts with the use of raw ceramic substrate material without the addition of glass material at any stage. Manufacturing processes for HTCC are akin to LTCC, with a significant distinction: the baking temperature reaches around 1600 to 1700 ℃ in a gaseous environment. Due to these high temperatures, circuit traces are made using metals like tungsten, molybdenum, or manganese, known for their high melting points.

Direct Bonded Copper (DBC) PCBs

The DBC process involves introducing an adequate amount of oxygen between copper and ceramic before or during the deposition phase. This action leads to the formation of a Cu-O eutectic liquid at temperatures around 1065 ℃ to 1083℃. This liquid chemically reacts with the ceramic substrate, creating compounds like CuAlO2 or CuAl2O4. It penetrates the copper foil, resulting in a combination of copper plate and ceramic substrate.

Direct Plate Copper (DPC) PCBs

The DPC manufacturing process relies on physical vapor deposition (PVD) and sputtering to bond copper to substrates under high temperature and pressure conditions.

Substrate preparation process

The substrate preparation process for beryllium oxide ceramic PCBs involves a methodical series of steps. It commences with the careful selection of high-quality ceramic material, followed by precise cutting and shaping to achieve the desired dimensions. Thorough surface cleaning eliminates impurities and contaminants, ensuring an immaculate surface. Metallization via techniques like PVD or sputtering deposits a conductive layer onto the ceramic surface, forming the circuitry foundation. Pattern printing and etching define circuit layouts, removing unwanted metalized areas. Stringent quality checks verify substrate integrity and circuit accuracy. Finally, a surface treatment enhances solderability and reliability. Each step, from material selection to surface treatment, is critical in ensuring the substrate’s integrity and functionality in high-performance electronic applications.

Beryllium Oxide Ceramic PCB Manufacturing

1. Foundation: Conductive Paste Application

At the heart of beryllium oxide ceramic PCBs lies the strategic application of silver or gold conductive pastes. These pastes serve as the bedrock for establishing trace connections within each layer of the PCB. Employing a meticulous layer-by-layer screen printing process, the integration of metal elements or substrates is carefully orchestrated. This process forms the intricate pathways necessary for the conduction of electricity and signal transmission across the PCB.

2. Engineering Connectivity: Via Creation and Layer Stacking

Following the precise application of conductive pastes, the manufacturing process progresses to the creation of vias. Vias serve as conduits, enabling interlayer connections crucial for the functionality of the PCB. This stage can involve various methods, including mechanical punching in an unburned layer or the utilization of laser technology for the creation of microvias. As each ceramic layer is imprinted with its unique circuitry, the stacking of these layers in a precise order becomes fundamental in establishing a coherent foundation for subsequent stages.

Critical Phase: The Baking Process

The assembled stack of ceramic layers, embedded with intricate circuitry, undergoes a pivotal stage—baking. This crucial step takes place within an oven, subjecting the entire stack to carefully controlled temperatures. The significance of maintaining temperatures below 1000 °C cannot be overstated; this threshold aligns with the sintering temperature of gold or silver pastes. The low-temperature baking process plays a pivotal role in enabling the integration of these conductive materials within the ceramic structure, ensuring their stability and functionality within the PCB.

Innovations in Integration: Hot Pressing and Sintering

The unique process of hot pressing and sintering in the creation of multilayer beryllium oxide ceramic PCBs sets them apart from traditional materials. This innovative technique allows for the immediate integration of passive components within the internal layers—a feat unattainable with materials like FR-4. By embedding components within internal layers, this method enhances both the density of components and the complexity of connections. This affords PCB designers unprecedented freedom in design and layout, pushing the boundaries of electronic circuitry design.

Technical Precautions

Handling and Safety Measures

Beryllium oxide dust or particles can pose health risks. Strict adherence to safety protocols, such as using personal protective equipment (PPE) and proper ventilation, is crucial during machining, drilling, or any process that generates dust or particles.

Thermal Management

Due to their high-temperature processing, precise thermal management is critical. Maintaining consistent and controlled temperatures during firing and sintering processes is essential to prevent warping, cracking, or other thermal-related defects.

Precision in Layer Stacking

Achieving precise layer alignment and stacking during the manufacturing process is crucial. Any misalignment or dimensional discrepancies can lead to issues with via connections or circuit integrity.

Environmental Considerations

Proper disposal or recycling of beryllium oxide waste and byproducts must comply with environmental regulations due to the potential hazards associated with beryllium.

Skin and eye irritation

Beryllium oxide ceramic can irritate the skin and eyes on contact, leading to redness, itching, and inflammation.

Difference between BeO PCBs and other PCBs

Here’s a comparison table highlighting the differences between beryllium oxide ceramic PCBs, other ceramic PCBs, and FR-4 materials:

Aspect

Beryllium Oxide Ceramic PCBs

Other Ceramic PCBs

FR-4 Materials

Thermal Conductivity

Exceptionally high

Good

Moderate

Heat Dissipation

Excellent heat management

Decent

Limited

Component Integration & Density

Allows embedding components

Limited capacity for embedding

Limited

High-Temperature Stability

Remarkable stability

Good  

Moderate

Electrical Performance & Signal Integrity

Excellent

Good

Moderate

Suitability for High-Frequency Apps

Well-suited

Limited

Limited

Cost

Higher cost

Moderate

Lower cost

Conclusion

The intricate process of manufacturing beryllium oxide ceramic PCBs encompasses precise layering, precise application of conductive pastes, and controlled temperature treatments. This process enables the creation of high-density, high-performance electronic circuitry—a testament to the continual innovation in the realm of PCB technology.

Three Ceramic PCBs

CONTACT ELE

ELE PCB has got the IS09001:2015, IS013485:2016, ROHS and FCC certifications. We can offer all kinds of services, including PCB manufacturing and PCB assembly, sample orders and batch orders. For PCB assembly, utilizing 7 high-speed SMT PCBA lines from Yamaha and Sony, to meet our customers’ needs. Our extended services include PCB design &PCB Layout, hardware design engineering, firmware &software development, and personalization. ELE company is honored as an excellent supplier from any company all around the world. We deeply believe that our good service and experience will completely meet your needs. Integrality, value and innovation are the forces that drive our success.

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About Michael

Michael is the general manager of ELE PCB, a leading PCB design and manufacturing company based in China. He has over 10 years of experience in the PCB industry, and has been involved in various projects.

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